Beneteau First 210/211


Beneteau First 210 Newsletters

Club / Association: First 210 Club
Issue / Publication Date: Issue #5: FALL, 2001
Author: Terry F. Ellis

Beneteau First 210/211 Club Newsletter FALL ISSUE
October 2001


Sunday, October 7, 2001 was sunny, cool and crystal clear as eight owners of Beneteau First 21.0s enjoyed the Post-Regatta ceremonies for the Barefoot Open Regatta, the site of our first ever First 21.0 Rendezvous Regatta. We gazed at Lake Lanier's deep, blue water and the mountains in the distance, as trophies were presented to each class of boat entered in the regatta. Our minds filled with fond memories as Jay Harrell accepted this year's F210/211 championship plaque. And each boat was awarded a "keeper" participation plaque.

Jay Harrell plus his Father, Jim and David Huggins (part owner in their F210 "Electra") received Barefoot Sailing Club's 1st place trophy for the F21.0 fleet. In his first-ever regatta, Ron Stephenson took 2nd place under the expert tutelage of Rod Forman. The 3rd place trophy in hand, Niels Wade trailed his F21.0, "Zafu" back to Tampa. Ken Poulson, owner of F210 #64, came from Boulder, Colorado and Bill Baker, owner of Beneteau F21.0, came from Asheville, NC to crew for Niels. Bob Truttman drove from St. Louis to share crew and steering on my F21.0 Classic "Let Go". Bob owns F21.0 Classic #88. We placed 4th ahead of Bob Field, Greenville, SC, who was unable to sail his F210 due to a keel problem.

At the awards presentation, I thanked Beneteau, USA, St. Barts Yachts and West Marine, for sponsoring our first F210/211 Rendezvous Regatta. Beneteau provided $150 + $500 worth of Club Beneteau caps and pennants. St. Barts, Beneteau Dealer for our area, contributed $150 plus color photos of Beneteaus. West Marine supplied a dozen T-shirts which we are having silk screened to show the F21.0 line diagram. We also liked the "Lil Sucker" drink holders from West Marine. We are forever grateful for the wonderful and unexpected "sponsor gifts"! We thanked Barefoot Sailing Club for accommodating our F21.0 Rendezvous Regatta in conjunction with their annual "BFSC OPEN" regatta. Bob Truttman exchanged a burgee from his Boulder Yacht Club (L. Carlyle, IL) with Pam Keene, Commodore of Barefoot Sailing Club. Pam, a beautiful lady and great sailor, worked tirelessly and thanklessly to support our participation in the Regatta.Non-F21.0 Beneteau owners I met at the regatta included: a F235 owner from Alabama as well as a local F285, F32 and Figaro Solo owner. I "named" Rod Forman (Beneteau First Class 8 owner) "honorary F210/211 Club member" for helping Ron Stephenson sail his boat. And, Jim Martin offered his First 32s5, moored on L. Lanier, as overnight lodging for us.

"Chef Poulson's" steak/shrimp dinner brought our First First 21.0 Rendezvous Regatta to a happy end on Sunday evening. The weekend had started with rain on Friday, October 5. But, by 11 a.m. Saturday morning, a cold front ushered in nice, 10-15 winds for the first 3 races. Our 21.0s "scampered" about, ducking in and around J/22s, J/24s, Catalina 22s and other racer/cruisers on the W/L course. Although we chose not to fly spinnakers, we were surprised to catch and even pass some J/22s and J/24s which started 5 minutes ahead of our fleet. After Saturday's races, we "cruised" around Flowery Branch Bay before retiring for the day. We had our fill of grilled cheeseburgers, chicken and chocolate cookies at the dinner/dance party that night. Ron Stephenson, Ken Poulson, Niels Wade and Bob Truttman stayed at my house where we had a great time talking, eating S'Mores and "teaching" a puppy Labrador Retriever to be our "F210/211 Club Mascot"! Under Sunday morning's brilliant sunshine, blue skies and a crisp/light breeze, we completed the 4th and final race of the Regatta. Lake Lanier sparkled as we reluctantly said "good bye" to this year's Rendezvous.

Racing was secondary to the fellowship that quickly grew among us. I think our "Baby Ben Two Tens" were the prettiest boats in the regatta! We laughed a lot, ate a lot and shared a wealth of knowledge about our boats. We committed to "do it again" next year! To that end, Jay Harrell has agreed to plan and coordinate the "Second First 210/211 Club Rendezvous Regatta" in 2002.

I thank everyone who participated, assisted and spent time/money to support this event. I had a wonderful time. I also thank Beneteau for making our fun, safe and speedy little First 210/211 boats. Please post any articles and/or photos you have on this event at the Beneteau Owners Web site: Otherwise, send anything you want to me. Terry Ellis, First 21.0 Classic #58


I recently purchased a Beneteau First 21.0 Classic #88, 1994 model with 1995 Haulrite trailer and 1995 Suzuki motor, for $10,000. Did that model have Genoa tracks standard as this boat does? It is hard to read this copy but hull # LOOKS LIKE BEY50088D494 DOES THAT LOOK RIGHT? I've been sailing this 1994 Beneteau First 21.0 Classic at Carlyle Lake out of Boulder Yacht Club. I have some problems to be looked at: On the single rudder, where do I find nylon bushings for the gudgeons or pintles with no dealers close? 2nd, can I have a 155 Genoa; a gennaker? 3rd, what is the rule on jib size for racing? Do all the 210's have a 2nd track along the cockpit coaming for a larger Genoa/drifter as does this boat? 4th, does Beneteau have a dept to order spare parts for older model boats like this First 21.0 Classic? What is the phone number for Beneteau where I can order parts like the deck organizers for my F210? I would like to know how to get behind the bolts to put backing and nuts on deck organizers where they are marked on the deck. Must I saw into the cabin mast support arch to place backing plates and nuts on organizers? I called Beneteau and no one could tell me. They said: "If I find out to inform them!" Bob Truttmann, St. Louis, MO Bob, I've not kept up with the resale prices of the Beneteau 21.0s, Classic and First models. I think the range would be $9,500 to $12,500. So, $10,000 sounds about right. The Classic listed for around $16,000 + $3,500 for trailer + another $1,000 for transportation/commissioning/etc., in 1994. The First listed for some $3,000 more than the Classic. So, new, the boats sold for $20,000 to $25,000 with trailer. I assume you are aware that the blue hull, First 21.0 is the more popular. It is being produced and sold in Europe as the "new Beneteau First 211". It has twin rudders and a worm gear swing keel that draws 6' down and 2' when swung up. The First also comes standard with racing hardware such as spin locs, turning blocks, backstay adjuster, spinnaker handling gear, jib roller furler, stern pulpit, one burner stove, lexan/tilting cabin hatch and so forth. I like the "Classic" for it's simplicity and I feel it's somewhat lighter than the First model. The shallow draft bulb keel and single rudder are less prone to mechanical problems. The fixed keel allows more cabin space. Both models are quick. I suspect the First will go to weather a little better with its deep, high aspect swing centerboard. Also, in winds over 15 knots, the First will not have as much leeway as the Classic. Still, there's not much appreciable difference I can tell sailing alongside my buddy's First model here. I also "fe el" the Classic is faster downwind, especially with spinnaker. The bulb keel seems to "lift" and the boat "surfs" nicely in a good breeze. I think the single rudder has less drag, however, there's a bit more weather helm in a blow. Just ease the sails and the boat gets back on track. On PHRF, the Classic gets an extra 6 sec/mile for its bulb keel...its PHRF here being 210 and the First, 204. I have no problem keeping up with (usually passing) Beneteau 235s and 285s. That should give you some idea of the speed you can expect. Of course, the most important thing (assuming the bottom is fair) is the sails. The Factory Doyle sails are flat and not too powerful. A new "Club Race" Dacron main and jib (say North) will cost around $2,500. A spinnaker is around $1,200+/- and spinnaker gear/pole/etc will cost you another $600 +/-. You can easily install all the First race gear on the deck...the places are all pre-scribed in the fiberglass by the Factory. It is better to order the Factory gear but not absolutely necessary. This will cost you another $500 -$900 (I think). Also, I installed a battery and navigation lights on my Classic (which do not come standard as on the First model). This was simple to do, including bow/stern and masthead "tri-light". Just cost more "money"! The boat is lovely. You will like it. The trailer/mast raising system is absolutely necessary with the tall mast on the boat. I love my's truly a "Classic"! It's perfect for lakes/ sailing...occasional racing. It's easy to single handle. It's safe and forgiving. It's easy to maintain. I don't think I will ever sell it! To install deck organizers/thru deck fittings, I simply drilled all the way thru the deck, the Fiberglass inner core and the inner liner, then used longer bolts to fasten the triple turning blocks, rope clutches, cleats and such on my F210 Classic. I filled the holes with Silicon sealant to prevent water invading the Balsa Core (and potentially rotting it). I only drilled exactly where the pre-marked places were "scribed" at the Plant. (To install in other locations, there is likely no inner strengthening (load bearing) FG core as in the marked places. Nothing is installed on the deck above the mast support "arch", except for the mas t step. There is a removable plastic "inspection cap" inside the cabin on this arch. I removed it to install a wire for a mast head light, running a receptacle thru the deck to port of the mast step to a wire running up the mast itself; and running a wire thru the beam over and down to a switch I installed on the stb arch beam in the cabin. The beam is "hollow" inside. There is plenty of room to get your hands and fingers inside it. I cut out a hole for a new switch plate. However, I avoided any other cutting on the beam. I feel it provides some support to the deck. Finally, I secured the bolts coming through the cabin ceiling with lock washers and nuts; sawed the bolts off to about ¼"; then screwed "dome headed" nuts on top to keep from gashing my head on the bolt ends.


I've seen that you've spent a lot of effort organizing the first 210/211 members club. Therefore I hope that looking for a reasonable maintenance guide for the first 210 is an already launched question in the community. But I haven't found any hints. I've got my 210 in '95 in Germany including some rough pages how to set up the boat. Therefore I'm still missing a detailed maintenance guide including the swing keel and the work to apply. If you do have any information, thanks for a short message. I hope you still enjoy sailing your "LET GO". Kind regards, Ulf

Hallo Terry, thanks for your mail. Could be helpful to check if your Owner's Manual (mine is just a couple of 16 pages) gives some hints for maintaining and exchanging parts of the swing keel. Later I've got a nice drawing showing all parts of the keel mechanism including some numbers but without any naming or hint for maintenance. My main interest is for the copper sleeve and its replacement. If you could let me know if your standard Beneteau manual gives more information related to these swing keel parts that would be great. I can tell you that I have been very busy following your instructions, I took 3 weeks holidays and I am busy sanding the toe rails in order to varnish them later. Typically enough, during this first week the weather has been horrible and I have been out sailing only twice (once alone!). The trick with the shock cord as a tiller tamer functioned very nice. Thank you. Now I have one more question: When you lift the hatch to come inside the boat, one finds 2 or 3 couples of pieces of ro und black rubber (don't know the English word for them) about 1 cm diameter each screwed to the hull. The last two, looking at the mast, are almost disappeared and the hatch makes much noise when it slides. Do you know the size of such items and where could I buy 2 new ones? Kind regards Ulf

ULF, Other than the Owner's Manual, which gives drawings, specifications and parts, lists, the best reference is this BOWS site, in the "Library Section" at; and simply sharing questions and answers via e-mail which I include in Club 210/211 Newsletters twice a year. Terry


Hi Terry, I've been doing some maintenance on my First Classic and have discovered that I have no flotation in the forepeak. Have you ever checked yours? What does it look like? I am thinking I'll get some foam and layer it in there in about 1 ft high slices so it will fit through the space left by the removal of the top board. The bottom board is glassed in. Also I was positively unimpressed by the construction/mounting of the forestay base and bow pulpit. They just threw a small triangle of gel coated fiberglass in for a backing plate to the forestay. Next time I tighten the backstay, I will think twice. Also have you ever considered a traveler? I have finally begun racing my First 210 so far with limited success. I think I am actually getting good boat speed and have had decent starts but am otherwise not sailing the course very well yet. I am sailing against J22's, J24's, a J80, a J92, an Ensign, a CC 27 and a Catalina 27 tall rig. So far I am beating the CC 27 on corrected time and the Catalina across the finish but that is it. This is a non-spinnaker series so I am still spinnaker less. Here's my question: One of your postings indicates that a good light air (last night was about 5 knots) setting for the jib car is the sixth hole from the stern end of the track. Do you count the holes with the screws in them?? On some boats you don't use the screw holes because the car does not really set into them very well but on the 210, they seem to work well and I found that that the sixth non screw hole brings the jib seemingly too far forward (e.g. it has so much curve it seems to stall airflow).

Thanks for your reply. The flotation answer was a relief. I wonder why Beneteau could not provide that answer? I had a chance to get out to my boat and look at adding a piece of plywood to the forepeak. Did you remove the existing backing plate when you did this or just install the plywood over it? It looks as if it would easily just go over it. The current backing "plate" is resin-glued on anyway and would likely be difficult to dislodge. Mine has one 5/16 bolt and another very small (9 mm) bolt holding it in place. I'll be tempted to enlarge the second small hole in the stem plate and use a larger bolt. In any case, that looks like an improvement I will be making. I have roller furling so I could probably use the extra support. Another improvement I may make is to remove the roller furling altogether. I always feel guilty leaving the jib on and it is not really very easy to remove it and put it back on. My jib needs replacing and it may not make sense to get another furling jib and have it rot on the forestay.

How is your epoxy bottom holding up? I have VC17 with no barrier coat. Unfortunately I have a large number of gel coats cracks emanating from the keel and in the vicinity of the trailer support pads. I have theorized that they are from me walking around on deck when the boat is on the trailer or from the process of pulling the boat up a very steep ramp when I haul it. When I pull the boat out, the hull is usually cavitated up a few inches in the broad flat area directly behind the keel. It then settles out within a day or so. The fiberglass is actually very thin in this area and has little structural support. I think this happens as the boat rocks back a little on the back of the keel as it rides up the steep ramp? My trailer may be adjusted to allow too much of the support job on the keel itself rather than on the trailer bed pads. Not sure. I expect these cracks will give me trouble if I don't do an epoxy job or get a Hydro Hoist soon.

I bought a Boom kicker too to assuage my spring fever! They are on sale for $120 at Sailnet. You've got me enthused about a symmetrical spinnaker too but that may need to wait until next year. Every major boat purchase requires a reciprocal purchase of furniture or something similar in order to get approval from my wife. Will Braat, Jacksonville, FL

Will, On the Classic, there is no floatation in the forepeak, along the inside of the bow stem down to the keelson. That's good. The boat needs no more floatation added to this area. It will float without any more added. The floatation is hidden under the hull liner and under the coaming decks surrounding the cockpit. The Classic was made without a backstay adjuster and Genoa furler in mind. The bow pulpit/stem plate is completely different than on the First 210. The good news is it is lighter and easier to handle a spinny pole through and around. The bad news is it needs to be reinforced...the stem tack fitting that is...from under the deck. What I have done is added a triangular piece of 3/8" treated plywood on the inside of the deck under the stem tack fitting. I drilled a hole in it and re-fastened the stem/tack bolt(s) through the plywood to spread the load. I also, inserted a large, flat washer on the bolt to keep the nut from pulling through the plywood. If you are really concerned about the stem plate "pulling out", here's a simple solution. Attach a stainless steel "eye strap" to the stem/tack fitting through bolt under the deck and a similar one on the back side of the trailer tow eye. Then insert a shroud turnbuckle between the two, firm it up and pin it. That's what we did on Catalina 22s. Their stem plates would always pull up from the deck from racing over canvassed in heavy air with the backstay on tight.

Yes, I've considered a traveler several times. I've so far concluded it will not make the boat perform any better. It is a very expensive addition that adds weight and makes the already cramped cockpit even more cramped. I have considered placing a traveler or even a "line bridle" on the transom cross bar. I think that would do more good than a mid cockpit traveler and be out of the way of cockpit movement too. The advantage of the transom traveler is wider movement and a better downward tension angle on the boom. Catalina 22s and now, many racing boats are going to transom travelers. It would be easy to install a traveler across the transom cross plate, and less expensive than a mid-cockpit traveler. However, we would then need to beef up the boom vang to keep the boom from "riding up", I think. On that, the best thing we can do to improve performance (even before worrying about a traveler) is to add a "boom kicker". One made for a J/22 would fit our boat perfectly. In light wind, the boom kicker will keep the weight of the boom from pulling down on the leech of the mainsail. That opens the slot and keeps the sail from stalling. Otherwise, to do so, we must use the topping lift, which is a hassle vs. a boom kicker. Terry Ellis, Atlanta


Hi Terry...............Thanks for the e-mail and the attachment. It is interesting that all the problems seem to the same, water in fore tank, wobbly keel and worn rudder bushings. You're welcome to use the following for the next F210/211 Club Newsletter, from the UK side.

I have had my 210 for three years now after racing a Micro 16 successfully wanted another boat with a bit of kick to it as I still race a high performance dinghy, at 65! Our water here is not dissimilar to some of the smaller Great Lakes, although Poole harbor is the second largest natural harbor in the world, we can get very short steep seas whipped up by counter tides. The harbor gives us plenty of variety in conditions, but at the same time relative safety in that all the racing can be observed from our starting platform so there is seldom any need to cancel except in the most severe conditions.

I have sailed with a regular crew in local series and apart from the first year when we were getting to know the boat have won the series in 1999 and were second last year. We regularly race out in a large sheltered bay about ¾ miles off shore and the boat goes well against heavier and bigger canvassed boats. We tend to sail easier in a big wind and sea rather than reef down as although the heeling moment is lessened we do lose a lot of speed. This year I shall check against what the designers chart forecasts in given wind strengths. Our best run has been broad reaching where we once had almost 10K registering on the log! But for most of the force ¾ breezes we get around 4/5 knots seems to be the average.

I cannot really give many tips, I find that the boats is well balanced on all points of sailing, goes best with only about 6" of mast rake and about 2" of pre-bend in the mast, although this will depend on the luff cut of the main. I must say that the sails that were supplied did no credit to Elvestroms; the jib was one of the worst I had seen for along time. I now have a shallow draft Mylar one and that has improved upwind performance no end. The only criticism I have is that we are so heavily penalized on handicap against much bigger boats, and prefer either light airs or a good 6/7 when we can really go. Tony Brookes Poole UK


Terry, I am going to appeal on my handicap rating at our local handicapping committee. I need as much support as I can to get the boat allowance down as this seriously affects our UK rating of .854. I feel we are being unfairly handicapped, as the boat is a planing hull. Although we have had 9 knots out of her I am doubtful as to whether we are actually planing. I would be grateful if you could e mail your experiences so that I could present this as evidence to the committee.

Hi Terry, Just to update you on the handicap position and a little info for yourself. I have managed to get the handicap down from .855 to .845…Hallejullia! Although these figures will not reconcile with your system it shows there is scope for a reduction. There are now some 6 210s and 211s in our harbor and these handicaps were crucial in them all being rated equally. The point that swung the decision was the allowance for the triangular part at the top of the keel that is exposed when the keel is fully down this was treated as if it were a skeg and therefore an extra allowance for drag was put into the formulae. Hope this helps with your handicap. Best wishes, Tony Brookes Poole

Tony, here at Lake Lanier, the Performance Handicap Rating Formula (PHRF, stated in theoretical/relative seconds of time per nautical mile) for the First 21.0 is a BASE RATING of 195, adjusted to 201 with a CREDIT of 6 seconds/mile for "100% headsail". The First 21.0 Classic gets another 9 seconds/mile for its shoal draft keel and single rudder, making its ADJUSTED PHRF = 210. PORTSMOUTH RATING here varies based on wind velocity and is in the range of 93 for winds over 10 knots and 97 for winds under 6 knots. The PORTSMOUTH RATING is more "generous" than the PHRF rating here in the USA. Terry Ellis, Atlanta


How hard it is to own a boat. On Monday I put the boat aground for the annual antifouling painting. It was supposed to take me a couple of days at the most, or so I thought. Once the boat was up, I noticed that the keel had some rust spots and I started to strip it bare to give it some coats of primer and get rid of the problem. But a close inspection of the keel case gave me a bad surprise: The bolt, which links the keel to the lifting mechanism, is badly corroded and its corrosion has also begun at the part of the mechanism touching the keel and the bolt. An Australian friend, Don, who is repairing his iron hull boat next to mine gave me the idea, and offered his help, to weld two anodes to the keel and also to weld an square piece of inox to the lifting device to reinforce it, changing, of course too, the damaged bolt. What do you make of it, Terry? Have you ever heard of similar problems with others 210's? Best regards Francisco


From: Ide Leddy To: "Mike Smith" Subject: Re: First 211

Glad to hear you're back on the water. We had some good sunshine here and have done a bit of sailing. I set up the mast by eye and survived last year...well just about. One problem I had was that the wire moving part of the backstay parted on a nice calm day luckily enough. It came apart where it passed through the block at the end of the long wire part of the backstay. It seemed to me that the block metal sheave had very sharp edges and cut it. Anyway, Beneteau gave me a new moving part and I got myself a new Harken block. My helm is very neutral, similar to yours, but when it blew a bit it produced some weather helm.

I have also purchased a spinnaker. Untried as yet but I hope to get it up this weekend. We did a bit of racing last year and did well. However the boys with the spinnakers could always beat us. So I had to have one to be competitive. I sail with my wife and I was advised to get marriage guidance counseling before using the spinnaker! I'll keep you informed of events. One of the sailing club members bought a new lifting keel 311 last year. Looks a nice boat but he couldn't keep up with the 211 in light and medium airs. No spinnaker either. Had a bit of bother with the rigging to I understand. Regards to all, Brian

Brian, the 211 has a lot of respect as a racing boat and I am always being asked why I don't race mine, not least by the class captain. Although we dingy raced for years, my wife isn't keen. I have just found a crew, but I think you need 3 or 4 in Poole harbor due to the narrow channels and frequent tacking. Anyway I might have a go, as my new crew has a son who is quite keen.

You do need a spinnaker or some kind of downwind sail as I find the Genoa does nothing downwind. I was thinking of getting a cruising chute (a bit easier on the crew) for the new boat. We have spotted four 210's in Poole Harbor so far, which it sounds like I will have to get used to overtaking me, when the new boat arrives. Beneteau as efficient as ever, still haven't confirmed the delivery date...It looks like we will have good weather this weekend, so we hope to get out again on Saturday (after checking the backstay!). Let us know how you get on with the spinnaker. Good Sailing, Mike.

Terry, Can you answer a question about F211 rigging tightness? I set the rigging by the book and notice that the leeward inner shroud is going slack on a beat in about F4. The mast appears to be straight. Is this OK or should I tighten up the inners a couple of turns? Mike.

Mike, That sounds about right. The lower shrouds should be a tad bit looser than the uppers. Go To and in the Library there, I posted an article on tuning the F210 provides the LoosTens Gauge tension setting for my shrouds, forestay and backstay, set up according to the Factory Guide. Terry


Jay and I have a nitpicky question about our semi-restored Beneteau: What should the sail number be, and, how come our sails didn't have the hull number on them already? By the way, we floated the boat this past Sunday and floated around looking for wind - just getting ready for the racing season. David Huggins and Jay Harrell, Atlanta

David, Look at the Hull ID # on the transom. Mine is BEYUS058H394. That means the manufacturer is BEY=Beneteau Yachts, made in US, hull #058, produced in the 8th month (8th letter of the alphabet =H) = August 1993 (3) and is a 1994 model = 94. Only about 100 F21.0s were made/sold here in the US. Yours was one of the first. I suspect it's hull/sail # would be in the 30s...maybe 36? Go to web site. Look in the library under "hull ID" and you will find an article that explains Beneteau's hull numbering scheme. Why your sails do not have #s? I do not know. Perhaps the owners didn't want them? Hope this helps, Terry


Terry; We have been reading and enjoying your articles on the Beneteau First 210/21 Classic. WE are close to purchasing a 210 model and hoped you could answer a few Questions for us. 1; why can you only use a 105% headsail thereby impeding your upwind performance? 2; Since we are not expert sailors, and this boat does not come with a spinnaker, is there a PHRF rating with and without a spinnaker? 3; could you club race without a spin without severely handicapping yourself? 4; Is there any potential weakness we should look for in a 1994 model (centerboard, gel coat, rigging etc.) 5 Do all 210/21s have a roller furling headsail and is it a class requirement? Regards, Bob Field

Bob, these are my answers to your questions, in order: 1. Why can you only use a 105% headsail thereby impeding your upwind performance? Because the spreaders are too wide to allow a larger headsail to be trimmed close enough. The boat is rigged like a Melges 24 or a racing day sailor...outboard chain plates. You don't need a larger headsail for windward performance. The mast is very tall. The power is in the main. It will sail plenty fast enough without a larger headsail. Larger and the boat would be over powered. Plus, that's the beauty of the 210. You don't have to even use a winch handle to trim the jib. The boat tacks very fast. You can see where you are going. No more pulling your guts out trimming a 155% Genoa. 2. Since we are not expert sailors, and this boat does not come with a spinnaker, is there a PHRF rating with and without a spinnaker? The 210 is designed to be sailed with a spinnaker. It is an excellent spinnaker boat...very, very fast under chute...and very stable too. You will have the spinnaker halyard blocks, the pole lift block, the line clutches for spinnaker and pads for spinnaker blocks on the boat. You have to buy the halyard, the lift line, the downhaul, the turning blocks, the pole and the cordage. PHRF ratings assume a boat with spinnaker. However, some local clubs (like here) allow a 15 sec/mi extra PHRF allowance for non-spinnaker. That is only when spinnaker and non-spinnaker boats race in the same fleet. Normally, here, that is not the case. So, if you're in non-spin fleet (all non-spin boats) you use the same PHRF as when you're in spinny fleet (all spin boats). The PHRF here is base of 195 + 9 credit for 100% Genoa = 204 for the swing keel model. The Classic, fixed keel model has a base PHRF of 201 (+6 for the bulb keel) + 9 for 100% Genoa = 210 PHRF. 3. Could you club race without a spin without severely handicapping yourself? Heavens yes. I have and did quite well. My friend, Neils Wade, won his home club's championship without a spinnaker. I won my "home club's" annual championship sailing with spinnaker one year. Next year they "banned spinnakers"! So then I won the championship that year too, w/o spinnaker. 4. Is there any potential weakness we should look for in a 1994 model (centerboard, gel coat, rigging etc) If the boat's been sitting in the water w/o blister coat, it's likely to have gel coat blisters. The keel too, will likely be rusty and need sandblasting/refinishing. Check to see that the keel raising mechanism works properly. Check to see that there is no leaking through the trailer tow eye into the hatchway fwd in the vee berth (you'll have to take out 4 screws and look down in there for water). Check to see if the rudder arms/assembly/gudgeons and such are tight and firm. Check to see if the nuts that hold the bolts that connect the toe rails and lifeline stanchions are snug (have to pull back the inner liner to see that). The bright work may need sanding and refinishing. That's about it. None of these problems is hard to solve. The bottom/keel blister coating/painting is the most time consuming and expensive. The boats are very tough and well made. There's not much to go wrong with them. I have a 1994 Classic. My two buddies here have 1993 swing keel models. We're all very pleased with our boats. 5. Do all 210/21s have a roller furling headsail and is it a class requirement? All First 21.0s with swing keels came std with jib furlers. The First 21.0 Classic does not have a furler. There are no "class rules" per se. I think you could remover the furler and go hank on jib if you want. That's what I fly. I prefer a hank on sail. It's so small, why bother with all the furler nonsense. And too, in a real blow, it's easier and better to reef the main and keep the jib flying full. Now, I have a question for you. When you get that F210, please come to our F210 Rendezvous Regatta here at Lake Lanier. It's on Oct 5-7. I've attached an announcement on it. By getting us together, we will share ideas on our boats and develop some basic "class rules". Okay? Terry


Terry; I'm trying hard to make the F 21.0 rendezvous in October, but first we need a boat. I got a call from the hull surveyor on the 210 we were to see this weekend and am sort of disappointed. He only found one significant blister but said there was a 20% moisture level throughout the hull laminate. Said there definitely would be further problems if the boat were kept in the water. Possibly it would not worsen if dry sailed. Do you have any opinions on this problem? Should we chance it, or look elsewhere? The boat apparently had been wet slipped most of its life. (1994) Thank you for your input. Bob

Terry; We bought hull #63 (1994) from Annapolis. You were absolutely right about the moisture meter thing. As dry a boat as I've seen. Overall, it's in good condition. Gel coat is better than expected and will buff out quite nicely. In one of your letters you mentioned the stem casting on the swing keel mounting being stouter than type on bulb keel model. Mine was loose so into the fore peak to check moisture (dry) and snug things up. Well the wetting out and glass lay-up up in that little pocket where the head stay casting bolts down was pitiful. Just a wad of loose, dry mat that the standard 5/16 washers were cutting into! Whoa! Got out the die grinder and removed all the loose stuff and was left with little more than gel coat. Now I'll have to start building it back. Hope the quality picks up from here. I hope when I get to the transom to tighten the gudgeons that things look better. Every one thinks she's beautiful. Hope it's more than skin deep. Anything can be repaired but still was surprised to find this oversight. Plan to strip the ablative bottom paint (looks more like paving) and go with VC 17 or similar. West shows a VC epoxy Teflon coating with no copper, cheaper, white, but otherwise seem to have the same features. Did you go VC 17m? Also have to order a few things from Beneteau. The mast raising bridles were missing, nylon washers for the rudder pins, etc. Haven't braved the swing keel trunk and stripping, de-rusting and smoothing that yet. Looks like a few weeks of fun, but will definitely be ready by October. Regards Bob


Just pulled the four newsletters that are on the website on the 210's. I have a Classic 210 and sail on the St Johns River in Jacksonville. I am looking for a "previously owned", but not "ragged out" asymmetrical chute that we can use to rig and get used to sailing. Without a chute, the light summer air (after the thunder bumpers move through) will kill you off wind. Thanks for the info on the chute. Need to know the size of the pole you use and do you use an adjustable downhaul or shock cord. I appreciate the info on the stem fitting. I installed a backstay adjuster and didn't give a thought to the security of the pulpit/stem fitting. I checked and guess what the deck has actually opened up on the starboard right at the bow. Not much and some caulking will seal, but I am having a backing plate fabricated. Beneteau wasn't very concerned about this as they had it backed with what looks like a piece of plastic. One would think that when I ordered the backstay adjuster system from them, they would have cautioned me as to the flimsy mounting. Will let you know about October. The Classic isn't the easiest to tow and launch with that fixed keel.

By the way, the annual Mug Race in May each year would be an adventure for 210's in the area. It is the longest river race in the US. The course winds thirty-eight miles up the St. Johns River with winds that can vary from 0 to 30. This year it was 12 to 18 and because of the twisting river, you can sail everything from close haul to a broad reach. By the way there were 212 boats this year ranging from board sailors to 30-foot cats to large cruisers. If anyone is interested for next year, drop me a line at

Reed, I don't know of any asym chutes available. I think one from a J/22 or a J/24 will fit. We all use symmetrical chutes here. They're easier to fly than an asymmetrical and the Star Cut (medium reacher design) will sail up to 40 degrees apparent wind angle. I recommend a Schurr Star Cut Medium reacher...cost around $900 new. Go fer that! Also, the spinnaker pole must be the same length (from the inside of the jaws on each end) at the "J-dimension" of our F210 Classic. That is 7.58 feet. The Classic wasn't designed to use a backstay adjuster so the crappy stem fitting. The blue F210s have a massive stem fitting. What I (and other Classic owners) did is put a backing plate or large steel washer behind the stem fitting plus drill and put a ¼" SS steel bolt as added support. Also, you could put an SS strap and turnbuckle from the under side of the fitting down to the thru=bolt on the trailer towing eye. Catalina 22 racers do that because the stem head fitting on C-22s also pulls thru the deck under heavy racing conditions.

For spinnaker pole handling, I use a downhaul line run through a swivel block on the deck, back thru a bulls eye fairlead and to a cam cleat at the STB edge of the companionway hatch...just to right and down from the STB winch. Okay? Shock cord is not nearly strong enough to hold down that spinny in wind 10+. The spinny is 450 SF!!! It is very powerful! I have planned to attend the Mug Race for the past 4 years but never got "round to it". In 2000 a J/22 sailor from here, won first in his class. I think our F210 would be very competitive.


Terry; I don't know what I've done, but the Sea Gods have delivered a final blow. Saturday after launching the boat, I went to lower the keel. After about two turns on the winch handle, the threads on the lifting mechanism (a screw jack type design) stripped and the 700 # keel fell in a free fall to the fully lowered position. When it hit the stops I thought it would tear out of the bottom, but it didn't, just sounded and felt like it. I called Beneteau this morning and found the entire mechanism has to be replaced as a unit ($350) and it needs to come from France. I guess all those years in the water in the Chesapeake took its toll. Then when the parts are in hand I need to get the boat to a yard with a sling to replace them. Sadly, all of this cannot be accomplished in time for the Rendezvous. I did send in my application and an order for 2 T-shirts so I will let that stand and hope it will allow you to get fleet status. Just see that they mail me the T-shirts as a memento. Don't worry about any refunds, just have a good time and I'll make the next one. Best Regards Bob


Fellow 210/211 owners, Last weekend I started to look at my rudder alignment and I discovered, much to my disappointment, that one of my tie-rod ends was cracked. I have a part on order, but I'm out of commission until it arrives. Looking for the cause of the breakage, I discovered that the holes where the tie rod bolts to the rudder are not drilled parallel to the rudder, but at an angle. However, both of mine are drilled with the same angle, instead of opposite angles. On one side that makes the bolt come nearly straight up through the rod end and it works smoothly. On the other side it causes the bolt to have a even more acute angle to the rod end fitting than if the bolt was straight and it actually binds when the rudders are turned. It was this binding and flexing that eventually broke the old nylon rod-end fitting. I'm wondering if I ended up with two right rudders instead of a right and left, or if I just got rudders without straight holes. I'm also wondering if any of you have ideas of how I might correct this, short of getting a new rudder which I'm sure would not be cheap. I'm afraid that if I don't correct the problem, that I will just keep breaking the rod-end fittings, and those aren't cheap either. ($75 from Beneteau USA). By the way, the Saturday before I discovered the breakdown I had the boat out for the first time in enough wind to get it really moving. And yes, I did get some vibration from my rudders. Given the speeds we were going I would tend to guess that non-fair blades caused it. But of course I have my boat working at all before I get too worried about fair blades! Jay Harrell Atlanta, GA

Jay, As to the "vibration" in the rudders, I have this theory. When you sail fast in winds over 10 knots, close hauled, one of the rudders exits the water a good bit. It then starts to "fly" in the wind, causing a vibration at the pintle/gudgeon assembly point on the transom. I don't think this is an alignment problem and is not any cause for concern. I suppose you could put some nylon bushings in the gudgeons which fit tighter than the factory ones...maybe that would "silence" the vibration? Terry (Note: Turns out, the prior owner of Jay's boat sailed it with two right rudders for several years!)

15. SPEEDY F211 IN UK:

Hi Terry, My name is David Smith, I live in the UK, have just purchased a 211 and your name was given to me by Mike Smith. I have been emailing Mike and getting some very useful help and information about the 211. My current problem is that the twin rudders vibrate with noise between 4-6 knots. Do you know if this is a common problem that has a solution? Also I read your notes about flying a spinnaker, I was considering getting a well cut cruising chute, have you any experience of the performance differences. With my family on board cruising is the main option but I am thinking about going racing in the future when my kids get a bit older. Be pleased to get your thoughts on these topics. David

David, YES...I reach speeds in the 8 to 10 knot range on a broad reach in strong winds...15-25 mph (12 to 20 knots) flying my spinnaker. Can also reach those speeds with full main and jib in winds over 20 knots. Interestingly though, the boat handles better with the spinnaker vs. jib in winds over 20 knots...and with full (i.e. un-reefed mainsail). A buddy and I raced it in 1999 in PHRF Championships where the wind was 15 to 25 knots (some gusts to 40 knots). We flew the spinnaker on the leeward legs if the 2 mile Windward/Leeward course. J/24s were racing as a separate, one design class, starting 5 minutes behind our fleet. They would catch us the second time around the course at the Windward Mark (2 ½ nautical miles into the 5 mile course). But, once we rounded the weather mark and got our chute flying, we would pass them by going to the leeward mark. These were top J/24 sailors, all flying chutes too. As we passed the fleet of some 10 J/24s and caught the leader at the leeward mark, the skipper of the boat looked up and said...what in the Hxxx kind of boat is that anyway!!

Is your jib luff fluttering? If you have the factory sails they are only made for winds up to 15 knots. Once flown beyond that (APPARENT WIND VELOCITY), they quickly "blow out", lose their shape and "presto", you have a fluttering, inefficient jib. The mainsail is about as bad but has a leech line you can screw with + loose foot line + halyard "reshape it" after it's "blown". I blew out my factory sails within 6 months! Then, I bought North "club race" sails...designed for APPARENT WIND VELOCITY of 35 knots. Now, realize 35 knots apparent wind strength is around 29 knots "true wind" if you're boat speed is 6 knots (going to weather, close hauled). I found you can buy North "laminates" (NORLAM), Mylar sails, Pentex, etc. etc. But they cost alot more and don't "suit" my 210 as well. Why then, do I prefer the NORDAC sails...heavy Dacron with built in low stretch fibers? It's because they will take winds on up to the max of when I would sail. Above 30 knots, I reef down, douse jib and find a safe harbor! Because the mainsail is "loose footed", I can shape it much better with Dacron cloth (vs. pre cut plastic sails). Because the jib is a "blade" it really doesn't "power" the boat like you would experience in a "traditional" mast head rigged racer/cruiser with a huge 155% Genoa. Also, I only fly the jib about ½ the time. Soon as I'm at 50 degrees apparent wind angle, I set the spinnaker...then the boat really "flies". Only use the jib sailing close hauled to weather mark. Yes, leech lines help but not much on a blown out sail...just remove the noise...the shape is still no good. A good sail will only require adjustment of the leech lines when the wind velocity changes by say...25% +/-. Okay?

Now, as to the "vibrating" rudders; have you ever sailed small, planing dinghies? I have...Lasers, C-15 4.7 meters, Pirateer, Hobie Catamarans, Sunfish...etc. If so, you likely remember when you got the boat up on a plane, the rudder and/or centerboard "hummed", "buzzed", vibrated. If you were like me, you'd smile and know you've got the boat "really humming"! Okay, now our F210's "theoretical hull speed", as a "displacement type cruising sloop hull" is around 6 knots. But "glory be", we find our little F210s will exceed that speed by a long shot! Why? Well, off the wind, the boat is so light and the aft "bustle" so wide and flat, we get "lift off"...semi-planing...surfing...whatever you want to call that. That's why we can sail by J/24s in a strong wind. They can plane too, but our hull shape has less wetted surface on a "plane". And too, we have more SA/Displacement with spinnaker than a J/24! Now, you will hear some noise/vibrating from the rudders when the boat starts to "plane". The rudders are "lifting" out of their normal position (draft/depth) whatever. As the rudders exit from the water, they start to "fly"...they then vibrate where attached via pintles to the gudgeons on the transom. The vibration runs throughout the hull, making you think the boat's "coming unglued". Not to worry, the boat is just fine. Now, if your gudgeons/pintles are loose, that is a problem. Check them frequently. The will loosen up if you "plane the boat" much. The vibration is just enough to cause the nuts to loosen up. Now, while you're checking the gudgeons and pintles, go ahead and replace the nylon pintle bushings. You'll likely see that the old ones are "worn down". I replace mine once a year. Worn down, the pintle will "wiggle" in the gudgeon more so than with a new bushing. Now, while you're there, check all the fittings on your rudder/tiller bracket. It too will "loosen up" over time. Just firm up everything and spray some WD40 lubricant on it for "good measure".

Now, and only now, go to the "alignment" of the rudders. Like a car, if they're not out of alignment, don't mess with them. You'll do more harm than good. Now, do this: a) see if the rudders are water logged from seepage if you wet sail your boat. I'll bet they are. The foam core inside the rudders absorbs the moisture and can increase the weight of the rudder dramatically. This will cause the rudders to vibrate and put excess weight astern where you don't want it!!!!! While you're checking that, lay a carpenter's level on the flat side of the rudder. Use it to see if the rudder has warped. Why would it warp? Well if it has absorbed a lot of moisture in its core foam, the expansion/weight/contraction of the core could cause the glass rudder to "bend" out of shape; b) If all that's now fixed, turn to the "alignment" thing. There are adjusting bolts on the rudder/tiller assembly you can use to "align" the rudder. But what angle is correct? I'm not sure. I would say this though: 1) make sure both rudders are at the exact same angle (opposing angles) to the stern 2) make sure the entry and exit of the rudders is exactly parallel to the boat's keel center line. Thankfully, our boats come out of the mold with the "center line" seam. I'd use that and a plumb line tied to stakes fore and aft of the boat sitting on its trailer to get a "true" centerline. I'd make sure that line is exactly parallel to the keel. Then, I'd measure the distance from the plumb centerline to each rudder (port and stb) in 2-inch increments. The distance should be equal. That's what I'd do. Terry


Dear Mr. Ellis: I read today with pleasure your newsletter. Let me introduce myself: My name is Francisco Cabrerizo, work as a Hotel Director in the island of Mallorca (Balearic Islands, Spanish Mediterranean Sea). My experience at sea is limited but enthusiastic: I crewed in some cruisers at some stages of my life (even did a race season in a German Boat), until 3 years ago I accomplished one of my dreams: Bought my first boat ( a Jaguar 25. British made). May 2000 I changed her for a Ben 210, swinging keel. Now let me ask you a few questions hoping you'll forgive my bad nautical English: When I bought her the varnish in the toe rails was on a bad shape. I have not got the time to sand it and re-varnish. It seems to me the wood is teak so I have been thinking to let it peel off the "natural way" and leave it so, applying teak oil for protection. What do you think? Another thing: My aim now is to sail her alone by myself. I have not dared to do so...yet. Which system do you think is most simple/efficient to lash the tiller while I take care of other sailing matters? More things: The day I paid the previous owner and launched her, when I was in deep enough water, a friend who was accompanying me tried to lower the keel. An enormous noise and my friend were looking at me in puzzlement with the whole raising/lowering mechanism in his hand. Next day (a Monday) I had to be working and my friend took the boat to the crane, raised her up and "repaired" (never understood how he did it). I have been sailing her since then with no more problems with the keel (raised and lowered it a few times). My question: Why did that happen? Could it be that my friend turned the mechanism clockwise (the other way around) ? Ok Mr. Ellis, I hope you have the time to answer me and that we'll be able to keep in touch so you can help me with. I'm afraid, many questions. By the way: The best place to buy 2nd hand 210´s is, of course, France. There is a wide scope of them. The French magazines "Bateaux" and "Voiles et Voiliers" have plenty of ads about them. I buy, the mags, every month; and if you want, I can provide photocopies. Regards Francisco

Francisco, Here are my answers to your questions about your 210:

1. The wooden toe rails on deck and in the cockpit, as well as the cabin hatch board jamb are not teak. The wood is Philippine Mahogany. The cabin hatch board is plywood with a mahogany veneer. Mahogany is light and very strong wood. It is fairly resistant to rotting as long as it can be kept dry. The 1940s-1950s wooden boats were made with mahogany stations, stringers and gunwales, often then with marine plywood or cedar strip screwed onto the mahogany frame members to form the hull. Oak was often used as the keelson and/or bow/stern plate material. These boats were varnished inside. They would last forever as long as the bilge was kept dry and aired out. If not, they would deteriorate from so-called "dry rot". Anyway, the mahogany on our 210s needs to be kept dry and freshly varnished. It makes the boat look good and, more importantly, these wooden pieces give our boats strength where it is needed. So, you need to sand the wood all the way down to bare. Then apply stain. Then apply several c oats of marine varnish (I like Interlux Schooner Varnish the best). You sand between each coat of varnish. Five or six coats will be required this first time. After that, you can keep the varnish up at 6-month intervals. Every 6 months, lightly sand the top coat or two of varnish and apply two more. Do the same on the cabin hatch board. I even varnish the interior hatch boards to keep them dry. Now, you can remove the mahogany pieces by unscrewing the nuts under the deck, which hold the pieces on. Then, you can work on the pieces at home, in a shop. But, you must be sure to "re-bed" the pieces with silicon sealant when you replace them. Removing the pieces keeps you from having to tape around them to sand, stain and varnish. I did not remove the wood on my boat. I carefully sanded, stained and varnished all of the wood, leaving it in place. The choice is yours. You may want to remove the cockpit wood pieces that are easy to remove but leave the mahogany toe rails in place. To access the bolts that hold the toe rails onto the gunwales, pull back the inner hull liner and look up at the hull/deck joint. You will see them, about every 8 inches I think.

2. As a "tiller tender", I use a 10 foot length of ¼" shock cord (elastic cord). I tie the ends of the cord to the stern mooring cleats and make a simple loop in the center of the cord. I I place this loop over the forward end of the tiller to steer the boat for me. The tiller extension mount stops this loop at a perfect spot. I can easily slip the loop on or off while sailing. I can increase or decrease the tension by adjusting the ends of the line on the mooring cleats. I replace this cord every season, for just $5 USD! You can also install a "tiller tamer" which is a device sold at marine/boat dealer stores. It has an arm, which attaches to the tiller and a ball on the other end that can be "locked" into a "pocket" on the side of the cockpit seat. It has a thumbscrew to tighten or ease the tension. This device is more expensive than shock cord and requires installing a "pocket" holder in the side of your cockpit seat. Really expensive, you could install an electronic "Auto Helm". That would be good if you are sailing across the Mediterranean or beyond. You could sleep while the boat sailed by itself!

3. The reason your swing keel "banged" down abruptly is the worm gear became detached from the keel itself. That is because you unscrewed the worm gear too far (counterclockwise). There should be a plastic ball on a line inside your cabin which hangs on the keel trunk. It is a guide to tell you when the keel is down or up. I do not think you did any damage to your boat. The noise is much more ominous than the actual force. You are in a little cabin and the "bang" is amplified. Do not worry about it if it's working now. Just don't unwind the worm gear too far in the future. Yet, always make sure the keel is all the way down when you are under sail. The line and guide balls may have rotted and are not in sight. If so, it is easy to replace them. I do not know why Beneteau used "cotton line" for this. Replace it with Dacron line.


I wanted to let you know that I did buy the 93 F210 that is a bit beat up cosmetically and will be "restoring" it. It does have an almost new Doyle RF Jib that looks to be much like the original stock jib made down in the islands unless I find out differently from Doyle. I don't think its been used more than a couple of times. The original Main is shot so I'm going to buy a new suite of higher performance sails. I'm trying to find out from Doyle just how old it is and what this sail cost new so I can sell it. Do you know what this Jib might be worth or know anyone who might be interested in buying it either as a replacement or to use as a good practice jib when not racing? Bruce

Terry; I am sorely in need of a new main. the original is light (4 oz) stretched and fraying. Doyle advises a 5.6 oz Dacron, 2 full battens, 2standard battens, 2 reef points, loose foot with shelf?, moderate girth. I know you race North sails and I have e-mailed them for a quote. What are your thoughts? Thanks Bob

Bob, the Doyle sail sounds correct to me. It's essentially the same design features as the North mainsail I bought to replace my OEM Doyle mainsail (which was too light and blew out the first season I used it). Doyle's top of line racing sails is as good quality-wise as North. I just "swear by North" and the North sail loft is right here on L. Lanier. Wayne Patillo, owner of The Sail Loft, 770-945-2800 at, knows my F210 and the sails that work best. My buddy (blue F210) and I have purchased main, jib and spinnakers from The Sail Loft. I strongly recommend Wayne. If you want, I can get your sails from him and make sure they're right. He'd then UPS them to you. The North Main "we" have costs around $1,200-$1,500 and is configured like this:

1. Nordac (Dacron laminate) 4800 sail cloth (5.5 oz) non-stretch up to 35 knots apparent wind velocity

2. Full, "IMS" roach racing design cut

3. One set of reef points

4. Loose fit foot

5. Insignia and Sail #

6. Draft stripes

7. Leech and foot lines with cleats

8. Racing battens

9. Rope luff

10.Full length top batten, 3 regular battens

11.Tell Tales on leech at trailing edge of batten pockets


Terry: We are having a pretty good series with the big boys, but can't catch a C&C 27. I have a problem with the drop down keel. Today it felt very stiff when retracting. When I tried to loosen it it suddenly became loose and then a bang and it retracted right down on its own, but still pivoted. I took out the top shaft of the mechanism and it seems ok, but I can't seem to thread it back onto the lower shaft. I think you have the fixed keel but was wondering if there is anyone or any literature that you know of that might have suggestions. Cheers! Mike

Terry: Thanks again for prompt reply. I have the diagram. My main problem is that the two parts of the shaft separated and I can't get at the bolts at the base of the lower shaft (which has dropped down into the casing) unless I lift the boat so that the board will drop vertically. My crew (who is a mechanic) comes back from Europe Friday. He is a genius at these things. Meanwhile I'll call Ward. Can't stand the thought of missing race tomorrow night. I am planning on installing spinny. Will keep in touch...Mike

Mike, 1) The Beneteau Owners Manual has drawings and parts list for the swing keel. 2) Call Ward Richardson at Beneteau Customer Service in Charleston…he knows all about the keel. It sounds like rust in the "worm gear" (i.e. pinion gear) mechanism. Have you tried simply spraying a can of WD 40 down into the mechanism? I feel that would "do the trick". Don't worry, I don't think the keel/gear will "bust"…it's very strong. C&C 27s are fast but they're PHRF is around 180 or so. Are you getting 30-sec/mi handicap differential? A prior "nemesis" of mine was/is a Tartan 28 PHRF 185. For years, I couldn't beat that boat. Now, I correct over or beat it over the line even on a regular basis. You'll find the difference is when/if you get a spinnaker. Then, down wind, you'll beat the socks off the C&C 27. To weather, it will beat you but off the wind…swoosh away and say "CYA"!!!


Terry, I am trying to find out about Interlux 2 part epoxy bottom finish with Teflon for dry sailed boats (white only). This might give a tough, slick, sand able surface with no biocides. It should be compatible with what's on there if I sand it well with 400 wet/dry. Make sense? I don't understand if the BWS is on the surface or in the gel coat formula. The hull is pretty splotchy now with a mix of blue gel and tan "whatever", but the gel coat showing is nice and shiny! An appropriate name for this F 21.0 would be "Blue Bottom". Two applications of West Marine bottom paint stripper (the long acting kind that you seal with plastic drop cloths then 12-24hrs later scrape it off) and I'm down to what appears to be a tan primer. It's tough as nails and resists the usual strippers. Acetone will however dissolve it, but I hesitate to be too vigorous with it for fear of softening the gel coat. It appears the hull has never been sanded. It is shiny where it shows through. The plan is to dry sail the boat, so I don't think a barrier coat is warranted on a 7 year old boat that so far as I can tell is "clear". VC 17m is the plan but how would you deal with that primer and prep the hull for the smoothest application? Wet sand, acetone, or try some other stripper? This is slow and tedious but I know it will be worth it when it hits the water. Your advice would help move me on to the next step. Regards Bob

Bob, My guess is the "tan primer" is actually "gray blister coat", likely Interlux 2001e. It is very tough epoxy. The only thing that will "dissolve it" is acetone...then just turns it to a gluey mess. You can sand it but it is very hard...takes 60 grit sandpaper. The reason, I guess, it's "tan" is from the "leaching" of the blue bottom paint into it. Here's what I'd do. Apply 2 coats Interlux blister coat on top of the "primer" and sand it smooth with an orbital sander. Apply VC17 on top. Even though you will dry sail your boat, this will give you a faster hull than gel coat because of the Teflon in the VC17. Your hull will be fair. VC17 stands up fine for years "dry" (it's non-ablative). It will not turn "color" unless you wet store your boat. You could use white, for example. Also, you need to blister coat/fair/VC17 the keel and rudder, so you'll have the mess anyway. I did this on a Catalina 22 I dry sailed and raced One Design. It was very, very fast! Terry

Terry; WOW! It gets more complex as we get into it. I guess we could try and contact the original owners and see if they know what they had applied to the boat. I f it is a barrier coat we will follow your advice. If not I will try one more application of the stripper. I will keep you updated. Thanks, Bob

Bob, You could simply sand the tan fair and dry sail muss/no fuss? Just be careful not to sand the original gel coat very much...otherwise, you could grind through it and violate the BWS barrier built into the hull at the Factory. I like the idea of the 2-part dry sailed epoxy bottom w/Teflon. The "BWS" is situated between the gel coat and the fiberglass hull laminate. It is a "layer" a piece of if you sand through the gel coat and puncture the "shield", then moisture can penetrate into the fiberglass laminate hull. Of course, if you blister bottom paint, that's a "non-issue". Still, I like the "double protection" of the Beneteau Water Shield (BWS) and blister bottom coating I have on my boat. Terry

Terry; Mike settled on a rating of 204 (following your compelling presentation; THANK YOU). Non-spinnaker at our club adds 12sec/mi. That certainly seems fair and is in keeping with your "CLASSIC". We are glad to have a 216 until we can move up to a spinnaker. I will keep you updated and am looking forward to "The Rendezvous". Regards, Bob


I was looking at the First 210 information on the Beneteau owners web site and noticed that many of the articles were written by you, and that you are a fellow Barefoot Sailing Club member. I've even raced against you a few times, but I don't know if we've ever met. Anyway, I've been considering getting a 210 to replace the San Juan 21 that I sold last year and I was wondering if we could come see your boat some time to get a better idea if we want one. The nearest 210 for sale is in Columbia SC and other than that all I've seen are few 210s around the lake. I've been able to sit in the cockpit of one at LLSC, but I haven't been able to see the inside and I need a little more information before I drive so many hours to see one. I'm trying to decide if this is a good choice for sailing with my wife and small kids. The San Juan was just a little too small down below -it didn't even really have "sitting head room". The 210 seems the perfect step up - slightly bigger, faster, and a more comfortable cockpit. From your comments it seems that it does okay in the handicap races at Lanier. With the SJ21, there very rarely was anyone close to my rating and the ratings don't seem to work well if the boats are too different. I don't need to be the fastest, but I got tired of being the slowest. Your thoughts would be appreciated, and if it wouldn't be too much trouble I'd like to come take a close look at your boat sometime. Thanks, Jay Harrell

Jay, For what you want, I think the 210 is perfect. There are two 210s I can show you here at Lanier. One is my boat, now sitting on its trailer in my driveway. You'll be able to see the hull shape and my "fixed keel" version plus the trailer. You can climb inside too. Then there's a blue hull, swing keel First 210 at Aqualand Marina that belongs to my best friend. He'd be glad to show you his boat. He usually has Wednesday's off and goes sailing then. The 210 is much faster than a SJ 21. It's a dream to sail. It's easy to handle. The only problem is its PHRF of 210. That's tough to handle vs. SJ 21s, Cat 22s, Cat 25s, Cat 27s, Santana 20s and such I must "give" 10 - 75 seconds/mi on PHRF! Other boats you might consider are J/22 or Capri 22, but then you must get the 4 ½' fin keel to be competitive, then it's not easily "trailer able". An "Ultimate 20" like Charlie Cushing's is faster and easy to trailer but it may be a little "too hot" for family racing...the A-chute on it i s a "bear to handle" in any kind of wind. The beauty of the 210 is it's so easy to sail light handed...with the 100% blade jib max, I rarely use a winch handle. Yet, it easily averages 4-6 knots to weather and can hit 10 knots off the wind under spinny! It's "hot" in light as well as heavy wind...and a delight in 7-12 knot winds.


Terry, As captain of the PHRF Fleet at Western Carolina Sailing Club(Lake Hartwell), I'm trying to find out what is the standard headsail on a Beneteau 210. One of our members has recently acquired the model with a blue hull and double rudders. From you website, I understand that these blue hull boats came with a Genoa furler. But what size was the standard Genoa? Is there a one-design specification for a Beneteau 210? US Sailing lists a one-design PHRF rating for just one club (Percy Priest). Would your boat be the one listed for Lake Lanier with a rating of 201? If so, what size headsail do you have? Hope you can help me out, Mike Harrison

Mike, Here are the answers to your questions about the Beneteau First 21.0 and the Beneteau First 21.0 Classic. The First 21.0 stock boat has a furling 100% jib (some call it a 103%) but basically it's 100% of the J-dimension of 7.87'. Any larger headsail would not work because the outboard chain plates and wide spreaders would prevent trimming it close enough for close-hauled sailing. Besides, the boat has plenty of sail power as is (a relatively high S/A to Disp. ratio). Okay now the "base PHRF" on the First 21.0 (the blue hull, 5'11" drafted, 800 lb swing keel, double rudder, furling jib) model is 195. To that, we give a credit of 9 sec/mi for max 100% jib. That gives the boat an "adjusted PHRF" of 204.

The First 21.0 Classic has a 30" shoal draft 800 lb bulb keel, a single rudder, no jib furler and is a white hull. Otherwise it's the same as the blue hull except the J-dimension is 7.56' (the 4" difference is due to the space needed for the furler on the blue hull). The PHRF Committee here at Lake Lanier decided the Classic was a different boat because it has a different keel and rudder. They assigned it a "base PHRF" of 201, basically adding 6 sec/mi for shoal draft keel to the 195 "base PHRF" for the swing keel/double rudder boat. Theoretically and practically, the deep swing keel will point higher, go faster and have less leeway close hauled, especially in increasing wind velocities. Now to the base PHRF of 201 for the Classic, the local PHRF committee assigned a credit of 9 sec/mi for maximum 100% jib, giving an "adjusted PHRF" of 210 for the First 21.0 Classic.

There are no "one design class" rules for either model of F21.0s nor for the latest F21.1 Spirits that are very popular in Europe. Perhaps some day there will be "class rules". But for now...there is no "class organization". Go To and there in the library section you'll find my detailed description of the PHRFs for the First 21.0. Okay?

Mike, here's the best I can reply to your questions:

1. It's possible to fly a 155% Genoa, just cannot be sheeted close enough to sail to the boat's VMG of 28-31 degrees apparent wind angle when sailing close hauled. So, theoretically I suppose the New England PHRF Committee which first established the "base PHRF" for the F21.0 in 1994 took that into account. This is just my speculation.

2. The Lake Lanier PHRF Committee asked the same question: "Is this boat a ODR" like a J/22 ODR with a Lapper Jib with a PHRF of 180 vs. a J/22 flying a 155% Genoa which has an Adjusted PHRF of 171 (Note the 9 sec/mi penalty for the diff between 100% jib and 155% Genoa). There is no "ODR" for the F21.0 as I know it. The blue hull, First 21.0 (and now in Europe the various colored hulls of the popular F211 Spirit) with it's double rudders, iron swing keel, furler and spinnaker, is the "standard racing model". Only about 100 of the white hull, shoal draft/bulb keel, single rudder First 21.0 Classic (like my boat #58) were ever produced. The Lake Lanier PHRF Committee decided my Classic was an entirely different boat by design. So, lacking anything better, they gave it the normal, 6 sec/mi credit for "shoal draft keel". That was in 1998. I've raced it in PHRF classes hundreds of times since and that rating seems about right. So, I've not appealed it and the LLPHRF has not changed it. No blue hulled F210s have raced here, but the LLPHRF felt 204 (or 6 sec/mi faster) seemed appropriate.

3. I don't know about Percy Priest's PHRF rating for the F21.0. I thought they "got it" from Lake Lanier's!! I do know there is a Portsmouth rating for the F21.0 and it is around 97 (I think). Use the conversion to PHRF formula and you'll find (I think) the F21.0 will rate more like 225 PHRF!!!

4. I've raced with the best here on Lanier and elsewhere, including your HotsYacht regattas. The F21.0 is quick but not a "sport racer" displaces 2,200 - 2,500 lbs and only carries around 250 SF of sail to windward (Main + Jib). That is about the same as a Catalina 22, displacing 2,200 lbs with sail area of 245 SF with Main and 150% (ODR) Genoa. The C-22 PHRF is 285!!! The F21.0 is similar to a J/22 except the J/22 displaces only 1,800 lbs and carries 260SF "ODR" main + jib (plus the J/22 can carry a 155% Genoa and has a longer water line. BTW the F21.0 LWL is 19.6', similar to a Catalina 22. I think a J/22 LWL is around 20.5'? Okay, well any way, my F21.0 is slower to windward than a J/22 and only slightly faster to windward than a Cat 22 and, about the same as a Capri 22 (fin keel/std mast). It is somewhat slower than a J/24 and, in light winds the same as a Santana 20 (with 150% Genoa). Off the wind, the tall mast allows the F21.0 to carry a relatively large spinnaker. So that (450 SF spinny) plus the slick/modern hull shape allows the F210 to be faster than a J/22, J/24, Cat 22, Capri 22 off the wind. As final comparison, the S-2 6.7 Grand Slam and the F21.0 are nearly the same on all points of sail...the S-2 somewhat faster to weather, the F21.0 somewhat faster under spinny...same on a reach. I've raced against a championship skipper who owns an S-2 6.7 GS for years AISC's PHRF D class. (His name is Chris Webster...officer in Barefoot Sailing Club and member of AISC here on Lanier). We swap beating one another from race to race and this has been going on for years now! The S-2 6.7 GS PHRF is 207 while my F21.0 Classic PHRF is 210. I think that tells "me" the PHRF for my "Classic" is correct. The swing keel F21.0 should be a tad faster (more hydrodynamic foil keel). Thus, I conclude its PHRF of 204 should be okay.

5. YES, PHRF ratings always assume a spinnaker. There is no such thing as a Non-Spinnaker PHRF. Here though, in mixed fleets, they allow 15 sec/mi for non-spin boats. But, as you likely know, that is only a local convention...not a PHRF "rule". Hope this helps, Terry

Terry, thanks again for taking the time to provide such a detailed reply. Based on your input we'll use 195 as the base rating and assume that Complies with the US Sailing definition of a standard boat. Here at WCSC we give a 9 second credit for a GT 110% Genoa and a 12 second credit for no spinnaker. So for the boat in question we'll assign a rating of 216. Thanks again for all your help, Mike P.S. Was your boat the petty one that was parked on the causeway at WCSC for a few weeks after the Hospice Regatta last October?

Mike, Yes, I parked my white First 21.0 Classic at WCSC last Fall after sailing in the HotsYacht Hospice Regatta. We got a 4th in Spinnaker PHRF "B" as I recall. BTW I forgot to mention that, back in 1996 when I bought my F21.0, I asked the Beneteau Factory what the PHRF was for the boat. They then said it was around 208.

updated August 23, 2002